Organ donation: Automatic route could work in India

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New Delhi | Published: January 9, 2017 6:19:38 AM

While organ donation is encouraged in India, rates lag far behind some of the developed countries. According to data from Organ India report in 2014, the organ donation rate in India was 0.26 per million in the country—one-hundredth of that of the...

As for India, even if it can gain a handful of people, this would be able to save the lives of many. (Representative image: Reuters)As for India, even if it can gain a handful of people, this would be able to save the lives of many. (Representative image: Reuters)

While organ donation is encouraged in India, rates lag far behind some of the developed countries. According to data from Organ India report in 2014, the organ donation rate in India was 0.26 per million in the country—one-hundredth of that of the US and a minuscule proportion of that in Spain (35.3) and Croatia (36.5). Though one reason for this pertains to infrastructure—it was only recently that the health ministry launched the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation—another is the lack of awareness about organ transplant. To this effect, the country would do well to follow the example of France, which has just initiated the concept of “presumed consent”. Under its new law, every person qualifies automatically as an organ donor unless she notifies the government otherwise. According to The Guardian, 150,000 people have already de-registered from the process, but even if the country can gain a few thousands, it would still be better off.

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As for India, even if it can gain a handful of people, this would be able to save the lives of many. Organ India highlights that the country is in need of 200,000 kidneys, 50,000 hearts and 50,000 livers for transplants each year, but all it can do is around 5,000 kidneys, around 15 hearts and a 1,000 liver transplants annually. Moreover, even with a 2 per million donation rate, India would have 4,400 kidneys, 2,000 hearts, 2,200 livers, 2,200 pancreas and 4,400 eyes. While presumed consent has not worked well, if adopted with better infrastructure facilities and concentrated awareness drives, it can certainly do wonders for India.

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